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For Your Well Being: Caught In the Act

November 30, 2006, Vol. IV Issue 23

Dear Friends,

In my last issue, I shared stories about Sue Kirby and Deb DiSandro and how they went the extra mile in making appreciation events especially meaningful for their honorees and audiences. In this issue, I’d like to share two more ideas about appreciation. The first is about weaving appreciation into an event, and the second is about weaving appreciation into your life. In both cases, these speakers, Jana Stanfield and Bonnie Dean, were caught in the act, like the others, in the act of going the extra mile. It’s a magical thing that happens with people who care deeply about results.

And as promised, we bring you Elizabeth Somer’s “Top 10 Tips to Keep You Slim” during the holidays. Now through New Year’s Day, you will be constantly tempted by the most enticing treats under the most vulnerable circumstances. These good ideas are designed to let you indulge in a good time, with no regrets. It’s all about being awake, aware and planning for what’s important to you. I wish you well.


Sharing the Spotlight

It doesn’t have to be an appreciation event, to show appreciation. Jana Stanfield often incorporates the art of appreciation in opening or closing keynotes for association events. Jana calls her programs Keynote Concerts because they include humor, insight and positive messages you would expect in a keynote speech, delivered in concert form. Where other speakers might make a point and illustrate it with a story, she makes a point and illustrates it with a song. Then she takes it one step further and includes lots of audience members in the program.

“I like to bring people up on stage,” she says. “I start by bringing up the people with the group who have been there the longest. This recognizes the creators of the organization  — the forerunners who have removed the stumbling blocks, creating a path for others to follow.

“When the people who started the organization are on stage, they get to look out and see how far their organization has come, from the vantage point of the stage, looking out at eager new faces. It’s a unique perspective that gives them a sense of pride. The song that works great for this is, ‘You’ve Got A Friend.’ You can hear people humming it in the halls afterward.

“And then I like to bring up all of the attendees who are first-timers. Sometimes this is their first time ever on stage. It allows them to be included and acknowledged. One of the great things about getting first-timers up on stage is that going to a conference is a big investment of time and money. It gives first-timers a way to be seen and known, making them more likely to feel part of the group and securing their sense of belonging.”

That translates into active members who get involved and come back, and meeting organizers like that. Something I’ve always admired about Jana is her willingness to share the stage (and spotlight) with others, whether they are other performers or audience members. She has a real knack for tuning into the meeting planner’s needs, taking the initiative to be innovative with those needs and making it all effortless. Learn more about what Jana Stanfield can bring to your meeting on our website or give me a call to discuss your meeting plans and how Jana could bring them to life.

Caught in the Act

It’s the time of year when it’s easy to get caught up in all the to-do’s and over-doing. Traffic, long lines, and dismal weather as well as excess demands on our time and money can all take their toll. The antidote? How about a little stress relief in the form of spreading some unexpected appreciation! According to Bonnie Dean, motivational speaker and master of the art of appreciation, what you focus on expands. So, the question becomes, do you want to spread Scrooge energy this holiday season, or would you prefer to be the purveyor of holiday cheer . . . and cheer yourself up while you’re at it? (Santa’s elf note: Actually this works anytime of the year. )

“Do you know anyone who suffers from too much recognition and praise?” Bonnie asks. “When I ask my audiences that same question I usually get laughter in response. Think about it. Most often we share with our friends and family members things they are NOT doing well. ‘Clean up your room,’ ‘You’re not going to wear that, are you?’  Etc.

“Let’s look at the power of a penny well invested in recognition and praise,” Bonnie continued. “When you see a penny on the street do you pick it up? You’re probably thinking to yourself … ‘Yes, if it’s heads up!’ A penny doesn’t appear to have too much value today . . . or does it? Let’s focus on the value of a simple penny invested well. Have you ever noticed what we focus on in life tends to expand?”

Years ago, after experiencing a devastating divorce and skin cancer almost simultaneously, Bonnie says her outlook on life was a bit negative. “Now I am a firm believer that there are basically two kinds of people on this planet- Mentors and Tormentors,” she says. “We are either part of the solution or part of the problem. Two very dear friends said, ‘Bonnie you are wallowing in the gutter. It all has to do with your focus.’

“They shared the 5 Penny Challenge with me and I’ve been sharing it ever since. It’s so simple. Whenever you leave the house, put 5 pennies in your pocket. Throughout the day, look for 5 people to compliment, from your heart, and you will find you’ll start focusing on the positive.” As you make a deposit you move a penny from one pocket to the other. This helps you keep track of how much recognition you are truly sharing. If you’re not naturally outgoing, it might feel a little awkward at first, but you can do it! It’s not that hard to find someone with a great smile, beautiful eyes, a new haircut, or find people with small children. Even if they aren’t cute . . . their clothes will be! The best way to acknowledge others is to find a way to tie your compliment into how it affects their performance or enhances their self-esteem and self-confidence.”

She calls this her “compliment hunt,” and there’s a bonus: You’re putting deposits into the emotional bank accounts of others. “One of my favorite places for compliment hunts is the $200 club! (Costco or Sam’s Club),” she continued. “They are the perfect places for compliment hunts because there are lots of people and they can’t escape.

“My first conquest was a woman with droopy shoulders and a bland expression who was schlepping through the bread section with the weight of the world on her shoulders and (!) wearing an incredible squash blossom necklace. Like a gazelle in Africa, I leapt across the aisle at her and inquired: ‘Are you from Arizona? That is the most beautiful squash blossom necklace I have ever seen. It brings out the blue in your eyes and is perfect with your skin tones.’

“‘No,’ she replied, ‘My husband was there on business and he knows how much I love turquoise so he got it for me for our anniversary. And, gracefully, proudly, raising her right wrist,’ she said, ‘My birthday isn’t for two months and he got me the bracelet that goes with it!’ She pranced away with a beaming smile and her head held high! Who got the most from that exchange? That was my first penny invested that day. One penny down, four to go!

“I’d finished my shopping and was standing in one of those lines that go on forever. After a couple of minutes I turned to the man behind me and said, ‘I was 12 years old when we first got into this line.’ He cracked a smile and let loose a glorious laugh. “YOU have a great laugh,” I told him. “Share it with people all day!

“We both left smiling. 2 pennies down, 3 to go. Is this hard to do? Well, actually, it’s easy to do, AND easy NOT to do. What we focus on tends to expand.”

When Bonnie presents the 5 Penny Challenge in her programs, she leaves each attendee with a packet of 5 pennies – and we’re talking 5 cents here, folks — to go out and practice what she preaches. As a result, she gets emails and phone calls about the impact of those pennies well spent on appreciation. “I hear from people all around the country,” Bonnie says. “It’s just amazing.”

“Hey, that’s an incredible mustache you have, sir,” Bonnie says to the shoeshine man at the airport, as she moves a penny from one pocket to another. Caught in the act, once again.

How valuable can a penny be? “We can change our focus one penny at a time,” Bonnie says. “We can change attitudes one penny at a time. We can change our communities one penny at a time. The power of a penny invested well in the emotional bank account of others pays huge dividends in our own. Over time it becomes easier, a new healthy habit. That enriches the lives of others as well as your own!”

Is anybody suffering from too much recognition and praise? Bonnie Dean takes people to deeper levels of accountability and community while they are having fun! She helps corporations honor & acknowledge their people. She gets right to the heart of the meeting planner’s needs and into the hearts of her audiences. She can be found on our website or in a store (or airport) near you –watch out for the enthusiastic woman in the colorful tennis shoes. She may be moving a penny in her pocket.

10 Habits to Keep You Slim at Holiday Time

by Elizabeth Somer, RD, MA

Speaker and author Elizabeth Somer of the celebrated 10 Habits that Mess Up A Woman’s Diet (McGraw-Hill) proposes that weight gain is not a decree, just as enjoying the holidays and staying healthy is not an either-or issue. You can enjoy the festivities, avoid the bulge, and not feel deprived by adopting these 10 habits.

1. Be choosey. Decide ahead of time to attend only the parties and eat only the foods that are most important to the holidays.

2. Don’t skip meals. Skipping breakfast to bank the calories can lead to overeating at the party. So front load your calories, by eating a light and healthful breakfast and lunch.

3. Sample, don’t gorge. The enjoyment of tasting new foods comes in the first few bites. Savor the flavor of the appetizer, but don’t eat the whole bowl.

4. Be polite, not nice. Rehearse ahead of time how you will gracefully say “no” to food offers, coaxes and coercions.

5. Have a specific plan. Decide ahead of time exactly what and how much you will eat and drink and then stick with your plan.

6. Just say “no” to alcohol. Even one beer or wine spritzer can break down your defenses and lead to overeating. Avoid alcohol altogether, dilute your drinks, or alternate one alcoholic beverage with two non-alcoholic beverages.

7. Never arrive hungry. You are less likely to overeat and more likely to feel relaxed and ready to enjoy the festivities if you have a healthful snack or mini-meal before a party.

8. Think veggies. Fill your plate with vegetables, fruit, low-fat crackers and cheese, and an extra-lean slice of meat from the buffet table and enjoy the company guilt-free.

9. Loosen up. Give yourself permission to attend a party, even if you don’t eat or drink.

10. Embrace the Spirit. This is the season to splurge, not on endless trays of fudge and cookies, but rather on the real meaning of the holidays – enjoying the company of others. That means putting food in its place. Instead of a sit-down gorge session, appetizer trays the size of the White House Christmas tree or batches of cookies to feed an army, invite family and friends over at a non-eating time such as mid-afternoon or late evening. Serve a beverage and a few low-calorie snacks to compliment an activity.

Barbara’s notes: To get your minds off sitting around eating and drinking, get up and do something! Socializing can be done while your feet are in motion. Take a walk through the neighborhood in search of the best holiday decorations. If it’s snowing, put on your cross country skis or snowshoes for some extra calorie-burning. Get out and go caroling, either at a nursing home or through a neighborhood. Move. You’ll feel better, in more ways than one. In the quest to stay healthy through the holidays, moderation in food and motivation to get moving will be your saving graces. Come to think of it, I’m planning to listen to my own advice.


In October, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I wrote about Penny Lynch, Frank Ghartey and the women of Ghana. Penny had traveled from New York to remote areas of Ghana to screen women for breast cancer and teach them how to do self-exams. Frank, a Ghana-born molecular scientist, owns and operates the breast clinic there. Conditions are primitive and they are in dire need of a modern mammogram machine. I committed to donate $100 for every booking made in October toward the purchase. It was an unusually quiet month for booking (I guess everyone was too busy having their meetings). Nonetheless, I am pleased to send them a check for $300.

I still hope, in this season of giving, that this cause appeals to you, and if it does, please send your donation to M&T Bank, 624 Route 211 East, Middletown, NY 10940, attention “Ghana: Woman to Woman.”

Until next time, be good to yourself, and enjoy your holiday for your well being and those you love.

Yours truly,

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